Lesson Learned

Lately on Wednesdays, Raine and I have been going to craft & story time at chaptersChapters (one of my favourite places). A friend of ours comes as well with her 3yr old. He’s not much into the story and craft hosted by a very dedicated staff member. Raine, however, loves it. I must admit the crafts are somewhat advanced for the other 2-3yr old children. Being 6, Raine does them with ease and comes away with a wonderful sense of accomplishment.

My friend lives nearby so we head over there for lunch most weeks. That’s what had me making loaded baked potato soup yesterday evening. While it boiled, I was blogging. Writing makes my spirit come alive in a unique way. But I’ve realized it’s not something to combine with cooking. Wanting to get back to my thoughts erupting in yesterday’s post, I hastily threw the soup base in the blender without letting it cool properly. I just wanted to be done so I could get on with writing.

After a moment of blending there was a crack. Then the glass split. Pureed potatoes and broth spilt everywhere! If you’ve been to my house, you know the kitchen counter is a catch all. Previous weeks’ crafts from Chapters were there along with a button bracelet Raine had made, a brand new notebook, and a big bag of Easter treats, among other things were soaked in the mixture. Grabbing a few dishcloths, I dumped everything in the trash – broken blender included – and tidied up.

My counter’s now clear of clutter. Sadly this is how it generally gets done. This isn’t the first time the blender contents have ended up all over. It is, however, the first time I’ve shatter the glass because something was too hot. The other times it was for other reasons.

I’ve learned one important lesson, not to combine cooking and blogging. That’s why today, I decided to make gluten free zucchini cookies after posting.

See you tomorrow! (have some exciting adoption news to share……)

Why Wonderfully Unusual?

Wonderfully unusual pretty much sums up my life. The unusual is pretty obvious. I intentionally pursued motherhood as a single Christian woman. A good portion of my friends are single Christian moms. Not one of them intended to be, it’s just how things turned out. Marriage has yet to come about in my life. Still I knew God called me to be a mother. So that’s what I became. Adoption burned on my heart since childhood, but first I became a foster mom. Then went through the process of adopting. My daughters came to me 3yrs ago as foster children. Now they’re mine forever. Everything about becoming a mom – foster/adoptive – has been unusual.

I began with a nearly 13yr old. Sabrina* had been in foster care since the age of 5. I wasn’t her first foster mom but I was her last. This past summer she turned 18 and is now forging her way as an adult. Starting off parenting a teen with fetal alcohol syndrome and intellectual limitations is unusual. And it certainly was a unique experience.

The adoption hasn’t been typical either. I had to fight to keep my little ones. Their social worker was sure they’d be better off with a married couple unable to have children of their own. In no way am I opposed to infertility being a factor in people deciding to adopt. Nor am I against couples adopting. I’m all for that. But after having my girls for 1 ½ years I knew they should stay with me. A formal hearing confirmed that was the best option.

That’s not how most foster care adoption stories go. Usually a social worker calls to say, “We have a child that might be for you.” Then you hear all about them, you make a decision, you see pictures, you fall in love, and meet. Then after a month or so of visiting you take your child home. With the arrival of a letter by courier it was decreed that I would get to parent Raine & Athena forever. Not what I was expecting when I started my adoption homestudy. For some reason I thought it would be somewhat typical.

Wonderful is where we’re at now. It was a rocky start with Raine. The adoption didn’t sit well with her. That and beginning school caused her to unravel to a certain extent. Homeschooling, cutting wheat out of her diet, and some herbal anxiety medication has gotten us back on track. She’s still somewhat tightly wound, but that’s just who she is. The place we find ourselves at now is by no means perfect. But I’d venture to say it is wonderful. Through an amazing turn of events, I’m able to be a stay at home mom. My kids are my primary focus – though I am working on another dream as well (www.believebistro.com).

So, to sum up our life: it’s wonderfully unusual. Hence the new title of my blog.

Thanks for stopping by. Come back tomorrow to find out why I shouldn’t blog and cook at the same time.

*name changed

Good Morning

monday-lets-do-thisIt’s Monday. I don’t mind this day at all. It brings a return to structure – or in this case another day of structure after I mistook Sunday for Monday (It’s Sunday).

Monday are the day I get down to business. It’s our day for serious school work. There are other days with structured learning, but it’s done in the midst of appointments and play dates. My girls are both in Kindergarten (Junior & Senior).

Technically Athena attends the public school down the street from us. But lately she’s been home most of the time. There’s a relatively new program here in Ontario – play based learning. I’m sure it’s great for other kids. Mine, however, require a great deal of structure and guidance. It’s gotten to the point where Athena is clenching her jaw in a strangely skewed manner. Primarily this happens at school and occasionally at home when she’s stressed or upset. The dentist noted her mouth is now growing incorrectly.

“It can be corrected,” she said. “You just need to encourage Athena to put her mouth properly.”

To save the pain and cost of extensive reconstructive dental surgery, Athena’s been staying home so I can get her jaw back to normal.

We’re on our second Monday morning. As much as my girls like structure, I must admit I do too. But I also love the opportunity to drop everything to go visit a friend. In addition to academics, Raine requires assistance in socializing. Somehow any skills she learned in daycare went out the window. She attended a full year of Junior Kindergarten last year. It seems in play based learning children are given the opportunity to work out differences on their own. Raine’s has a strong personality. In the unstructured environment, she tended to resort to domineering her peers. At such a young age, she still needs guidance on how to interact. So we take advantage of invitations to visit friends whenever they come.

But generally Monday’s are spent at home doing school work, laundry, and putting things back in order from my weekend “off”. I like to pretend I have a Monday – Friday job. Often I don’t do laundry or mop floors on the weekend. But Monday I’m back in the swing of things.

I must admit I really like Monday.




It’s Sunday

wonderful life
Welcome to my new site – Wonderfully Unusual. I had a post in mind to welcome you to this new space. It had to do with the quote above and the name of my site. It was complete in my mind. But I’m having a difficult time recalling it. Let me tell you why.

The kids and I have been hit pretty hard with colds this week. This is our first round since last winter, so I’m not really complaining. In the midst of designing my new blog I have some deadlines to meet. I must get my income tax done to prove I still qualify for the adoption subsidy I currently receive. Sometime this coming week a social worker is doing a home safety inspection. I have yet to be informed when. All the safety’s in order, but the house is a bit of a mess especially since I haven’t been feeling well.

This morning I pulled myself out of bed at 6:45am. Promptly I called 4yr old Athena’s school to leave a message saying she wouldn’t be in today because she’s unwell. When the kids finished breakfast I started them on some school work. I sipped my coffee and thought the radio must have made a mistake when the announcer mentioned it being Sunday. Or, more likely, I misheard.

I debated texting the neigbour to tell her Athena wasn’t going to school. Instead I waited for her daughter to arrive. Normally she walks Athena to and from school.

“I guess Natalie has forgotten about you,” I commented.

“Maybe she’s sick too,” Raine offered.

We explored all the possible reasons Natalie hadn’t arrived which wasn’t a big deal since Athena wasn’t going to school. Then I realized, It’s Monday and I haven’t posted my Sunday blog! With all the work on the new site, I was quite disappointed at my oversight.

After an hour of school work, the kids went to play in the backyard. I fervently hoped the home inspection wouldn’t be today. Needing a quick distraction from all the housework looming around me, I picked up my phone to scroll through facebook. That’s when I discovered it’s Sunday.

I nearly fell over laughing at my mixed up mind. Can’t recall ever having made such a huge oversight. Let’s blame it on the cold that’s starting to lift. Really glad I didn’t text the neighbour. I’m so happy I had today to tidy the basement and nearly complete my income tax. Best of all I got to post on my new blog. But I don’t have any fancy words to welcome you. I’m still a little jumbled after my false start. Maybe next time.

Happiness from Within


In one week I will be 37. Being single at this age is a lot different than being single at 17 or 27. I’m comfortable with myself in ways I wasn’t at those ages. Growing up I was forever being told, “You’ll make a great wife one day.” Maybe I still will. It’s never been a passionate pursuit. Perhaps naively, I expect the Lord to open the door for marriage if that’s what He has for me. Since it’s not yet opened, I’ve created a life for myself – walking through the doors the Lord has opened.

Being alone is hard sometimes. Being an introvert and wildly independent, I’ve had to intentionally create community. Nearly 6 years ago I moved from the city I grew up in to a small town. I knew a few people since the church I attend and worked at was located in the same town. Some of those friends have since moved away. Others have entered my life but it’s taken intentionality to build those relationships. Making friends when you’re older is harder – there are kids and schedules and unshared histories. But, as a fulltime homeschooling single mom, I need community to keep my sanity. That’s the most important thing I’ve discovered at this point. My kids are wonderful yet limited.

Recently in applying for a job (part-time working from home), I was asked to provide two references. Who to choose? I messaged a friend for advice. She was slow in responding. So I talked through the dilemma aloud while eating dinner with my girls. 4yr old Athena insisted I include our friend’s dog. I’m not sure he’d be the best choice. When a puppy, I cared for him daily. Now that he’s older our arrangement is: I can stop by to walk him whenever I want while my friend’s at work. I must admit that hasn’t happened in ages because it’s been so cold and I’ve been so busy. I doubt he’d have anything positive to say at this point.

I look forward to the time when my girls are older and friendship blossoms between us. For now, I am responsible for their daily care and instruction. It’s a beautiful relationship, but more demanding than I ever imagined. Having a partner might lighten the load, but I won’t waste time lamenting. The Lord has enabled me to adopt as a single woman. I am fully capable on my own. I am whole and content. There’s room in my heart and life should that door open, but I won’t devote myself to a possibility. My kids need me to be fully present for them. I need to fully engage with them not allowing imagination and longing to sap my strength.

It’s taken a long time for me to get to this point. Growing up, I often imagined the glory of marriage. In my mid-20’s I was heartbroken by the end of a romance. I spent a great deal of time longing for that man. There are fleeting moments when I still miss him. There are times when I think, “if only I had….”. Everything could have been different. Maybe it should have been. But it isn’t.

This is my lot. I have two beautiful daughters, a lovely home, the opportunity to be a full-time mom, friends who care for me, a family who are excited about the wonderfully unusual life I have created. Being single isn’t a problem I need to fix. It’s an opportunity I’m striving to make the most of.